How to Protect Workers in Cold Weather Conditions

working in cold weather

What are the common and less familiar risks that working in cold weather conditions involves and the most successful methods of protection.

In 2014, 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses were documented in the US, just involving ice and snow, with slips, trips and falls in this setting, forming a large percentage of compensation claims. Cold weather conditions may be enjoyed by some people in the winter, but every year they can become a safety hazards for outdoor workers in the heavy industry. Constantly working on-site in the construction industry is one of the most dangerous jobs.

Some of the more common risks of working in cold weather conditions mentioned in this ebook are slips, trips and falls, often on ice and vehicle accidents and breakdowns, perhaps in an isolated location. Others, that may not be taken into account, include carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, often from gasoline-powered tools that are more common in winter, such as heaters and snow blowers. Figures from 2015, found that accidental CO poisoning, accounts for an average of 430 deaths in the US workforce each year.

Working in cold weather, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), combining layered clothing for the body, hands, feet, head and neck is one of the most popular and important methods of protection. Hypothermia and frostbite and two of the most common conditions which can occur if sufficient PPE is not provided. Also, if clothing becomes wet but is not changed quickly.

Pre-job planning is also important, especially in an unknown or remote location. The daily review of a long-term location to investigate a site for risks such as an icy surface or power outages, is also important. Powerline workers are more active in cold weather conditions when moisture on lines can turn to ice, sometimes making them stiffer and easier to fall. Ice is also a strong conductor of electric current and this is a reason why the risk of electrocution while working in cold weather, is also important to take into account.   

This ebook goes into more detail to discuss:

  • The impact that cold weather conditions can have on the US workforce.
  • The common and less familiar risks of working in cold weather.
  • Different methods of protection, while working in cold weather.

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